Quibi, the 10-minutes-or-less content vehicle tied directly to your cell phone, will start to lose the second half of that distinction sometime in May. Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg told Reuters on Wednesday that the application will start offering options to watch content via television screen, a departure from the company’s mobile-only business model.
The news came in a Reuters report that said downloads of the streaming platform are nearing 3 million, up from a paltry start that was a fraction of the initial support Disney+ received from content-hungry users. Katzenberg said 2.7 million people have downloaded Quibi since its April 6 launch, and some of them will get the option to watch that quick bite content on much larger screens:
Katzenberg also said that some Quibi users will have the ability to cast the service from mobile phones to their televisions starting in May. Some early viewers had complained that they were unable to watch Quibi programming on their TVs.
Quibi originally had been promoted for on-the-go viewing. Executives stuck with their launch plan even though it came when audiences were sheltering at home to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
As noted in the Reuters story, the Quibi model of short form content on mobile phones is severely limited by people not commuting to and from work or even leaving their homes amid the pandemic and the need to practice social distancing. So it’s interesting that a platform with a philosophy meant to differentiate it from other streaming services has immediately pivoted to make itself more like the competition.
What’s interesting more, all the content was meant to be watched on phones, and some screeners of Quibi content came in different aspect ratios to reflect that. In other words, it’s entirely unclear how much of this quick content will be optimized for far bigger screens, which perhaps is why the function will be rolled out slowly. We’ll know more about what Quibi shows look like on the big screen once we can actually see it, but it will be interesting to see if this news gets more people to give Quibi a go while the offer for a free trial in its first few months still stands.